Best Headphones for Classical Music 2020 – Buyer’s Guide

Best Headphones for Classical Music

Many people buy the most expensive pair of headphones, thinking that they are necessarily the best out there. But, this is not always the case. If you’re searching for a pair for a particular genre, you must be well-informed regarding the most suited models to the genre’s musical characteristics.

Each genre has a specific range. For example, dubstep focuses on the lower range, while dance music has an energy spike in the treble range. In our case, the genre is classical music, and it focuses on the mid-range.

The following headphones are excellent with handling mid-range without overshadowing or overemphasizing any other ranges. This way, you can listen to natural sounds, recreating a concert hall atmosphere.

Since there are countless models on the market, I decided to compile a list of the best headphones for classical music and write a short buying guide that includes the factors that you should check before making a purchase.

Comparison Table:

Headphones  Price Design  Frequency range  Impedance
AKG K702 CLICK FOR PRICE Open-back  10Hz – 39.8kHz 62 ohms 
AKG K240 CLICK FOR PRICE Semi-Open 15Hz – 25,000 Hz 55 ohms 
Sony MDR7506 CLICK FOR PRICE Closed-back  10Hz – 20 kHz 63 ohms 
Philips SHP9500 CLICK FOR PRICE Open-back  12 – 35,000 Hz 32 ohms 
Sennheiser HD 599 CLICK FOR PRICE Open-back  12Hz – 38,500Hz 75.55 ohm
Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO CLICK FOR PRICE Open-back  5Hz – 35,000Hz 250 ohm 

The 6 Best Headphones for Classical Music in 2020

1. AKG K702 – Best Overall 

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AKG K702 headphones made it to our list for providing the most comfort even if you wear them for hours. The 3D earpads and velour-covered ear cups are extra soft, so how could they be painful? 

Besides the velour, I also loved how thick the padding is because it prevents ears from touching the headphone’s drivers. Also, the earpads are large, and the ear opening has sufficient space to fit ears of different sizes. 

We can say that the headband is a double-edged weapon because it is suitable for small heads, and horrible for those with large heads. For example, if you are a small-headed person, you’ll feel that the self-adjusting headband is excellent, for it helps the headphone stay in place. On the other hand, people with large heads complain that the headphones are too tight on their head. 

AKG K702 have a perfect build quality, as they are made of plastic, metal and leather. To illustrate, the ear cups are made of plastic, and the headband has two metal wires and a suspended adjustable leather headband that rests on top of the head. 

Buying this set of headphones is cost-effective not only because of its removable earpads but also because of the detachable 3-meter cable. This means that if the earpads or cable suffer any damage, you can easily replace them instead of replacing the whole set. 

What would comfort do if the sound quality is not good enough, right? Well, I am glad to tell you that AKG K702 promises both with its 10Hz – 39.8kHz frequency range. This neutral headphone is excellent with mid-range, as it produces sounds with great detail and transparency, which is why it’s great for classical music. 

This set produces natural tonality with vivid voice reproduction, which is especially true with female vocals. Moreover, the treble sounds excellent and clear, which is why cymbals and string instruments sound harmonic. However, it is not suitable for bass-oriented genres. 

In case you want to feel like you’re in a live concert whenever you feel like it, these are the headphones for you because they have an impressively wide soundstage with realistic instrument separation. Another reason why they give you the same feeling of live performances is their open-back design that allows for airflow. 

However, this design does not isolate sounds and may leak a lot of the sounds you’re listening to. So, it’s only ideal to use these headphones at home or in quiet places. 

Given that the impedance of this set is 62 ohms, which is a bit high, you might need an amplifier. Note that you only need an amp if the maximum output of your source- smartphone and its alikes- is lower than what your headphones require to reach that level. 

Pros:

  • Durable 
  • Excellent sound quality
  • Removable earpads 
  • Detachable cable 
  • Comfortable velour-covered earcups

Cons:

  • Not for bass-oriented music 
  • Expensive 
  • No sound isolation 

Our take 

AKG K702 is an excellent option for its comfortable nature and high sound quality. It is especially suitable for people who just want to listen to classical music in quiet places. 

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2. AKG K240 – Best Semi-open Headphone 

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Having semi-open headphones gives you the best of both worlds, as they isolate some noises and provide natural sounds simultaneously. With AKG K240, you can enjoy listening to high-quality music while on the go without getting disturbed by all the ambient noises. 

Thanks to the extensive frequency range (15Hz – 25,000 Hz), professionals can use this set for recording studio as it produces clear sounds with flat response. Also, the highs and mids are perfect, given that the semi-open design allows air in and out. 

Even though AKG K240 headphones come at a very affordable price, you won’t need to buy an amplifier, thanks to its low to medium impedance rating (55ohm). They will smoothly drive high levels of volume if connected to a smartphone or its likes. Plus, you’ll enjoy high-quality music regardless of the device the headphones are connected to.

Like the AKG K702, these are comfortable enough to wear for extended hours, thanks to their velour earpads that help lessen the pressure. Besides, they feature a steel self-adjusting headband, which fits all head sizes with no problems. It’s also flexible, so you needn’t worry about breaking it. 

Imagine you’ve damaged the cable for any reason, would you need to replace the whole set? No, because you can just remove the old cable and buy a new one. It gains plenty of durability from the oxygen-free copper cable with gold-plated plugs on both sides. It’s also 3 meters long, allowing you to move around easily.

Pros:

  • Comfortable
  • Budget choice 
  • Suitable for professionals 
  • Replaceable and long cable 
  • Blocks some ambient noise 

Cons:

  • Little sound leakage 
  • Not a truly natural sound as an open-back design 

Our take 

AKG K240 is the one to go for if you need excellent semi-open headphones at an affordable price. Also, its changeable cable and the fact that it doesn’t require an amplifier make it very cost-effective. 

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3. Sony MDR7506 – Best for Professionals 

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If you’re a professional who doesn’t want to waste time and money on an average user’s set of headphones, Sony MDR7506 are for you. They have been proven to work wonders in recording studios, newscasting, film production and more.

Unfortunately, the 63-ohm impedance makes them unsuitable for portable devices. So, an average user can’t buy them and connect them to their smartphone, for example

With the closed-back design, this set blocks all ambient noises, so you can work without any interruptions. On top of that, the interior material is made of leather, providing you with maximum comfort. 

Made with professional comfort in mind, Sony MDR7506 offer excellent sound quality, which balances mids and highs, thanks to the 10Hz – 20 kHz frequency range. You can thank its neodymium magnets and 40-millimeter drivers, which allow for powerful and detailed sound production, for they made the set great for jazz, and soul music.  

Even though the cable is not detachable -which is a shame- it’s 10 feet long, so you can comfortably move around. Plus, it is pretty durable, given that it’s terminated in a 3.5 mm connector, includes a 6.5mm screw-on adaptor, and a gold-plated plug. 

For convenience issues, Sony MDR7506 comes with an OFC chord for effective signal connection. I especially appreciate their foldable nature, as it eases storage and makes them a breeze to travel with. 

Pros:

  • Affordable 
  • No ambient noises 
  • Excellent for professionals 
  • Foldable and travel-friendly 
  • Suitable for many music genres
  • Comes with an OFC chord for reliable connection 

 Cons:

  • Non-detachable cable 

Our take 

Are you in the music field and need perfect and affordable headphones? Your dreams will come true with Sony MDR7506 with their adequate frequency range. 

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4. Philips SHP9500 – Most Comfortable 

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Philips SHP9500 headphones are pretty comfortable because their headband and ear cups are covered with a breathable mesh material. The large ear cups are oval-shaped, which means that they fit comfortably around differently-sized ears.

SHP9500 produce outstanding sound quality, given that they are mids and treble-centric. The 12 – 35,000 Hz frequency range helps them produce clear and neutral male vocal and slightly forward female vocals. The treble is a bit emphasized with more details.  

And if you’re not a bass head, you’ll love the present bass. But if you’re into bass-heavy genres, you won’t benefit much from them. These headphones are perfect for classical instruments, strings, and even metal and rock genres. 

Moreover, the 50mm neodymium drivers and the open-back design help deliver a full spectrum of sound. I also love that the cable is removable and long enough (1.5 meters) to allow you to move freely. What’s more, the 3.5mm jack on the headphones enables you to remove the cable easily to switch sources or add a microphone. 

The 32 ohm-impedance means that you can easily connect them to any of your portable devices, and they will still produce perfect sound quality. 

Sadly, it’s all made of plastic, except for the metal grills on the ear cups and metal strip in the headband. However, the set is durable enough to withstand hardships. 

Pros:

  • Affordable 
  • Comfortable fit 
  • High sound quality 
  • Removable cable 

Cons:

  • Not great bass
  • Average build quality 
  • Doesn’t block ambient noise 

Our take 

Philips SHP9500 is an excellent option for anyone looking for a comfortable pair of headphones that don’t compromise sound quality. Plus, you can easily connect them to all devices. 

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5. Sennheiser HD 599 – Wide Compatibility 

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Owning a pair of headphones that are compatible with all devices, including portable ones, is a huge plus. If this is what you’re looking for, I love to present Sennheiser HD 599, which is compatible with computers, tablets and phones. Plus, it comes with two detachable cables: a 3m one with a 6.3mm jack and a 1.2m one with 3.5mm a jack. 

Further, with a frequency response of 12Hz – 38,500Hz, it produces top-notch sound quality because it doesn’t focus on low frequencies. Instead, it shines in the mid-range, so the mid and treble frequencies are the focal points of tone clarity. This means that every instrument is distinguishable.  

With the 75.55 ohms high impedance, the music is clear, more transparent, and the soundstage is more spacious. Besides, the open-back design helps you experience music as if you’re standing in the middle of a live performance. 

You can also wear Sennheiser HD 599 for as many hours as you want because the velour-cushioned earpads and padded headband help reduce the pressure.

Pros:

  • Two-year warranty 
  • Comfortable fit
  • Come with two cables 
  • Natural sounds

Cons:

  • Expensive 
  • No sound isolation 

Our take  

Sennheiser HD 599 is one of the best headphones for classical music with its wide compatibility, comfortable design and exquisite sound quality. 

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6. Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO – Most Tangle-free 

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Thanks to the single-sided cable, Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO is the most tangle-free set of headphones. You can easily put them on and take them off as many times as you need without any hassle. 

What’s more, the foam-padded ear cups make them quite comfortable, and the headband design ensures a secure fit. In the unlikely case that the earpads suffer any damage, you can easily replace them. Also, the velour wrapping of the headphones gives them a lovely feel.

The open-back design allows you to experience music in its most natural way. If you close your eyes, you’ll believe that you’re in a concert hall. 

Another factor that helps you feel this way is the 250-ohm impedance, which delivers clear and transparent sounds, and makes the soundstage more spacious. However, you might need an amp to push the headphones and increase the volume when you connect them to your phone or another portable device. 

Plus, the wide frequency range (5Hz – 35,000Hz) allows for excellent sound quality. These affordable headphones have great low-end responsiveness, which is suitable for classical pieces with lots of percussion instruments. Moreover, you’ll get very clear mid and high frequencies. 

Like Philips SHP9500, the build quality is quite average, given that it’s all made of plastic, except for the metal band that holds the cups. 

Pros:

  • Comfortable 
  • Affordable 
  • Single-sided cable 
  • Replaceable earpads 
  • Produce a concert-like sound

Cons:

  • Average build quality 
  • Non-detachable cable 

Our take 

With velour and foam padding and single-sided cable, you can rest assured that this set won’t cause any troubles. Plus, its sound quality and natural sound reproduction are hard to resist. 

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Factors to Check When Buying Classical Music Headphones 

Buying a pair of headphones can be confusing, so I can imagine how hard it is to find the best pair for classical music. With many perfect models on the market, one can’t help but get lost among them. For this reason, I advise you to make a checklist and add the following factors onto it. 

Neutral Sound Signature

Classical music is all about the mid-range (250 Hz to 2 kHz). And since classical music has some deep bass, and violins and flutes fall into the treble range, you must go for headphones with a neutral sound signature. This way, you can listen to bass and treble without overshadowing the mid-range, where the majority of the orchestra sits.

Design 

Choosing the best headphones design is subjective, as both the open-back and closed-back designs have their pros and cons. The main difference lies in the earcups, where those of open-headphones are ventilated, and those of closed-back design aren’t. 

The ventilated earcups allow for airflow and give you a natural sound as if you’re in a live performance. Sadly, they are only suitable for quiet places, as they don’t block any of the ambient noises. Also, we didn’t like how bass-driven music genres sounded in them. 

On the other hand, closed-back headphones block ambient noises, so they are excellent for those who want to listen to classical music in noisy places. Plus, they have a greater bass impact. Unfortunately, they produce an echo, which makes the sound less natural. 

So, if your primary concern is audio quality, go for the open-back design. In case you’ll use the headphones in noisy places, the best choice is the closed-back headphones. But this means that you will be saying goodbye to the concert hall sound effect. 

Comfort 

Classical songs are a bit longer than those of other genres, and that’s why finding comfortable headphones is highly essential. Make sure you check the ear cups and get cushioned ones because these are the most convenient and securely fit on your ears. 

Materials 

The material of the headphones plays a vital role in their ability to block ambient noises. There are two main types of material of which headphones are made: rubber and foam. Rubber ones are cheaper and durable; however, those made of foam are more effective and provide extra comfort.

Final Thoughts 

There are many excellent headphones on the market, so it is okay if you’re still confused. I have no problem highlighting some of the best headphones for classical music. 

For example, if you need a comfortable pair of headphones, you can either go for AKG K702 or Philips SHP9500. Also, both have excellent sound quality with natural sounds.

In case you’re searching for a budget-friendly option, you can go for AKG K240. Also, its semi-open back design allows you to listen to natural sounds and block the ambient noises as well. Besides, it is quite comfortable, so you can wear it as long as you need.

Sony MDR7506 is the best option for professionals, thanks to its closed-back design that blocks all ambient noises. It also balances mids and highs and offers powerful and detailed sound production. Plus, the comfortable pair is great for jazz and soul music as well.

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